Walking Papers

This is a guest post from Karen Craigo, a non-tenure-track professor at Drury University. Just the other day, professor Craigo found out that her  three-year contract was not renewed. She wrote a poem in response to her situation.

To get the sack is to lose

your job. We might also say

canned, fired, given the boot.

My student has the idiom

of the day, and he takes us through

the origin of the term—how workers

would carry a bag of tools

from job to job until they were

no longer wanted, and were handed

their satchel and sent away.

My students are learning

where to put the stress, what vowels

to flatten or round, how to hear

the difference in consonants,

/p/ or /b/, /r/ or /l/, we practice,

we begin to get it right.

And this assignment shows them

there are histories we can only

guess at—that language springs

from context, purpose.

My student gets a B—enough

to keep him here, keep him

in the game. Meanwhile, I’m out—

word today my contract was not

renewed, and I feel for them,

those stonemasons and carvers,

painters and metalsmiths,

heading off into the unknown,

everything they own heavy

against their shoulder.



One thought on “Walking Papers

  1. Pingback: 2014 Through the Academe Blog: November | The Academe Blog

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